Solomon Islands presence at Expo 2020 Dubai has continued to receive interests from various foreign investors who are eager to establish business operations in the Solomon Islands.
A virtual meeting was convened on Wednesday 9th March 2022 between Dubai Investors and Solomon Islands Government officials and community representatives on the possible establishment of an Intravenous Solution (IV) production facility on Ulawa Island in the Makira Ulawa Province.
The meeting hosted by the Israeli pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020, saw two Dubai based investors – Mr. Alessandro Rosso and Mr. Mohammed AlBlooshi and included senior Government officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour & Immigration, Ministry of Health and Medical Services and community representatives on Ulawa, along with the Commissioner General and Deputy Commissioner General of the Solomon Islands Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020.
The meeting discussed the prospects of establishing an IV Solution production facility on Ulawa based on the scientific report produced by local scientist Dr Dickson Boboria, in collaboration with the Awao Business Community (ABC), a Charitable Based Association of Ulawa.
The 147 page Report produced by Dr Boboria concluded that the natural spring water of Ulawa naturally contained the pharmaceutical ingredients required for IV Solutions.
Intravenous Solution (IV) is used for medical purposes. They are supplemental fluids used in intravenous therapy to restore or maintain normal fluid volume and electrolyte balance when the oral route is not possible. IV fluid therapy is an efficient and effective way of supplying fluids directly into the intravascular fluid compartment, in replacing electrolyte losses, and in administering medications and blood products.
The report stated that Ulawa water can produce standard – and special IV solutions. The standard solutions include sodium chloride 0.9 %, dextrose 5 %, sodium chloride 0.9 %/dextrose 5 %, ringer lactate and ringer solution, while the special solutions are lidocaine 0.4 %, paracetamol 1 %, metronidazole 0.5%, ciprofloxacin 0.2 % and Baby Electrolyte solution.
Dr Boboria stated that Intravenous Solution (IV) is a niche market which has great economic potential due to its demand and need in the medical field.
This could mean acquiring this life-saving product domestically whilst at the same time an export commodity within the region and internationally as well.
According to its budget proposal the total financial costs to help start a fully functioning IV Water facility would cost US 7 million (SBD58 million).
“The establishment of this facility will help create jobs and employment for the local community, whilst at the same time contributing to the local economy”, said Deputy Commissioner General, Dennis Marita who chaired the meeting on behalf of the Solomon Islands Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020.
In 2018, the AWAO Business Community (ABC), who are the legal representatives of the Landowning Units, had commissioned Ensymm, a Project Consulting for Life Services Company from Germany to prepare an IV Solution Manufacturing Business Plan for the Government of the Solomon Islands.
Since then the proposal has already gone through relevant channels in the government and is just awaiting implementation depending on availability of funding support.
Ulawa Na Ugi Association (UNUA) representative Mr. Godffrey Sautehi confirmed that there are 8 different sites on Ulawa where natural water could be extracted on the Island and that the landowners were looking forward to commencing discussions with prospective investors.
Ulawa Island, which has an area of 65.92 square kilometres (25 square miles), is located near Malaita Island and comes under the Makira Ulawa Province.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, Mr Riley Mesepitu said that his Ministry is grateful to Mr Rosso and Mr AlBlooshi for expressing interest to invest in the Solomon Islands and that all support needed to enable this project to progress will be provided by the Solomon Islands government through the respective government agencies and stakeholders.
Dubai based investors Mr Rosso and Mr AlBlooshi expressed their interest in this proposal and mentioned there is great potential in this product and of which they are willing to work with the Solomon Islands Government and relevant partners and stakeholders to make this a reality.